What We Talk About When We Talk About Sitcoms from the 1980s
• I was surprised that the Owens family could afford to hire a butler. You know, the family on “Mr. Belvedere.” George was a sports announcer, so I’m guessing he brought in pretty good money, but they must have been spending a lot for Marsha to go to law school. So how did they afford not just a butler but a live-in one at that? And they just happened to have a spare room for him? Random. Remember Wesley’s friend Miles with the headgear and the teenage daughter’s friend named Angela who couldn’t pronounce Mr. Belvedere’s name? Those were two ongoing gags that weren’t that funny.
• It was so shocking when they hired the Maytag repair guy to play the character who molests Dudley in that very special episode of “Diff’rent Stokes.” That messed with my mind as a kid. I had always thought of the Maytag repair man as a very nice guy, and there he was, running a bicycle repair shop and trying to mess with young boys. Gross.
• Why did I watch “Alf”? Seriously. I know I was a kid, but I should have known better. Even then.
• When I would watch “Family Ties,” I used to put my hand up my own shirt and pretend it was Michael J. Fox’s hand. I know that’s so gross or whatever, but I was a hormonal puberty-crazed mess. What’s weird is I never got any of the political jokes on that show. It never hit me that the parents were supposed to be hippies and Alex P. Keaton was some conservative. If that show was on now, I would probably go for Mallory’s boyfriend Nick Moore. He was kind of foxy. Hell, I’d probably go for Skippy over Alex P. Keaton. But I was 12 years old back then, ya know? – Jennifer Mathieu